Doug: I'm Doug Hannon and I'm here with Charles Stewart. Many people in the tournament organizations have become pioneers, they've learned to find a way to contribute, and they've learned how to contribute to the success of of our live release in tournaments. And Charles is one of those guys that's realized that fish when their caught have to have neutral buoyancy.
When a fish is in the water it's required that it not sink and it not float and it does that by a mechanism called the swim bladder, which is nothing more than an air bubble in the fish. But everyone that's gone down to the bottom of the swimming pool knows that they feel that squeeze on their ears.
And as you get deeper the bladder is squeezed and shrinks and is less buoyant when you bring a fish up from deep water they act like this fish here, they can't get down, and in many cases that inability to get down can kill the fish.
So what Charles is here to do is to show us how to remedy this situation. Right now, what you're seeing is one fish that's normal. He's level and buoyant and he doesn't have any effort to stay where he is. This fish just behind him actually has to have his tail up in the air and be swimming trying to reach the bottom. Guess what, the one on the top has completely lost it.
Charles, let's show everyone how we can fix this problem that these fish have, and make them all like this one that's healthy and happy.
Charles: The best way that I've found to do it, helping these tournaments out is to get a hold of the fish. Try and cup it in your hand. Lay this fin flat, just let it lay out like it normally does, flat. Turn the needle where the flat side is down, come back about two or three scales past the top end of that fin and slide it under the scale until you feel it go through just like that. Then you come up and go straight down.
Doug: Look at the bubbles come out. See the bladder letting that extra air go, and that's all extra air.
Charles: And the best way to do it is hold this needle and put you hand on the fish like this. When you feel him starting to let the pressure off you take the needle out and there he goes.
Doug: So all you're going to do is remove that needle as soon as the fish looses buoyancy, stops pushing up on your hand.
Charles: Yes sir, as soon as you feel that pressure coming off your hand, you want to take that needle out and that fish will swim away just like it was out naturally in the lake.
Doug: That's excellent, to be caught another day. These methods have been tried and true, and proven. As you can see we've got nothing but healthy, neutrally buoyant fish in this tank ready to take their place back in the world.
There's schools of thought on this that have advocated many ways of doing it. One of which involves going down in the mouth, through the throat, where the bladder is actually accessible.
But there are so many vital organs so close and so much in peril, that we don't recommend this. We recommend that you do the method that Charles Stewart advocates and has been a big part in developing, and has proven successful. Go through the side of the fish, that's the most secure way to make sure those fish will survive.